Guerrero, Hanna lifts ISU baseball over the primary MVC hurdle | Indiana State Sports activities
Indiana State Slugger Ellison Hanna II was hired to solve Illinois State pitcher Colton Johnson.
“I watched this guy for two hours this morning,” said Hanna. “We were told to hold him while he was studying film.”
Hard work resulted in a great reward for Hanna and the Sycamores in their opening game of the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament on Wednesday in southern Illinois.
Hanna hit two home runs and ISU starter Geremy Guerrero did the rest when the Sycamores claimed a 5-2 win over the state of Illinois.
ISU will take on the Wednesday nightcap winner in southern Illinois-Bradley at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Itchy Jones Field. The SIU Bradley game ended after the Tribune Star’s deadline.
For the Sycamores, the start of the tournament was the dream scenario. ISU (28-17) stayed in the winning class, as a result, kept their regional NCAA hopes alive and Guerrero gave them the outing any team wants to start.
Guerrero threw an entire game. He scattered seven hits, hit four, and only walked a Redbird. He did everything in 108 pitches and the ISU bullpen is fresh for Thursday.
“I did everything the same way. The plan was the plan for the whole year. Go out and get my team a win. All of my pitches felt good and I let my defense work,” said Guerrero.
ISU trainer Mitch Hannahs couldn’t have been happier with what Guerrero was giving the Sycamores.
“We saw quite a few pitchers of the year come to this tournament and get their backgrounds. I think other teams are getting ready [for an ace]. And we’re talking about being ready for a finesse guy. [Guerrero] won’t throw anything from you, he should set everything up and mix and match. Today he had all of his parking spaces, “said Hannahs.
The state of Illinois, which survived a 12-inning competition with all winners against Evansville on Tuesday, drew Guerrero in second blood. Joe Butler drove Tyson Hays home with a single to give the Redbirds (23-33) an early 1-0 advantage.
Hanna took care of the early Redbird leadership with the second pitch he faced. It hit a pitch low right in the center. How deep? Hanna’s two-part explosion – Miguel Rivera had done it – cleared the SIU scoreboard in the center right, an achievement rarely seen at Itchy Jones Field.
Hanna was also determined to make a contribution. The Bahamian senior was part of the 2019 MVC championship but didn’t play in the postseason. He started playing regularly in the last month of the season and tries to make the most of his chance.
“I was there in 2019 but I haven’t played. I feel like I have a lot to prove. It feels good to contribute to a win. We have a lot at stake right now. I want one.” Main contribution, “said Hanna.
Seeing Johnson in the film was part of his determination.
“When I served Bradley I noticed that he was throwing a lot of fastballs down and for strikes. Most pitchers, when they do that, try to build their curveball out of it. I saw his bow on the curveball and to see whether it is so. ” would be a ball or a punch, “said Hanna, who hit low pitches for the home runs.
Hannahs noticed that Hanna did better to avoid hitting the plate and as a result he played more.
The ISU’s 2-1 lead lasted until the seventh when both pitchers showed why they were their team’s respective aces. At one point, Guerrero withdrew 10 in a row.
“When we have that head start, it gives you that extra gear. It gives you what you can get going,” said Guerrero.
Hanna made a breakthrough out of the close competition in the seventh inning. In the first place he saw Johnson, he pulled another punch to the right. His solo blast probably sailed at least as far as his first, landing in a field far beyond the right field fence. The ISU later added another run over doubles from Josue Urdaneta in the seventh to make it 4-1.
“I didn’t see the second one because coach Hannahs doesn’t like it when I see my home runs,” Hanna hesitated after the game.
In the eighth run, the ISU started an insurance run over a Brian Fuentes double.
ISU did not play Bradley in the regular season after the series was canceled due to COVID-19 cases at the Braves. The Salukis won a series in Terre Haute in early May.
ILLINOIS STATE (AB-RH-RBI) – Libman dh 4-0-0-0, Huggins ss 3-0-1-0, McCaw 1b 4-0-0-0, Hays c 4-1-2-0, Yes. Butler rf 4-0-0-0, Cermak cf. 4-1-1-1, Jo. Butler lf 4-0-3-1, Soberano 2b 3-0-0-0, Hayes ph 1-0-0-0, Gile 3b 4-0-0-0. TOTAL 35-2-7-2.
INDIANA STATE (AB-RH-RBI) – Schaffer ss 4-0-3-0, Beck lf 4-0-0-0, Gergely lf 0-0-0-0, Wright c 3-0-0-0, Rivera dh 4-1-2-0, Nelson pr-dh 0-1-0-0, Fuentes 1b 4-0-1-1, Hanna rf 4-2-3-3, Ross cf 4-1-2- 0, Cusumano 3b 2-0-1-0, Sears 3b 0-0-0-0, Urdaneta 2b 3-0-1-1. TOTAL 32-5-13-5.
Illinois State = 010 = 000 = 001 = – = 2
Indiana State = 020 = 000 = 21X = – = 5
E – Gile (11); Cusamano (2). DP – ILS 4. LOB – ILS 7, ISU 5. 2B – Rivera (10), Fuentes (10), Urdaneta (6). HR-Cermak (11); Hanna 2 (4). S – Cusamano (1). SB – Schaffer (11).
Illinois State = IP = H = R = ER = BB = SO
Johnson (L, 3-5) = 7 = 11 = 4 = 4 = 1 = 3
Mabee = 1 = 2 = 1 = 1 = 0 = 0
Indiana State = IP = H = R = ER = BB = SO
Warrior (W, 10-1) = 9 = 7 = 2 = 2 = 1 = 4
T – 2:22.
Next – ISU (28-17) will play either Bradley or Southern Illinois at 8pm on Thursday. Illinois State (23-33) plays Valparaiso on Thursday at 11 a.m.